They won 63-10 in the Eternal City
Ireland got their 2017 Six Nations campaign back on track in Rome with a comfortable 63-10 win over Italy.
Joe Schmidt's side had secured the try bonus point before half-time as they looked to take out the frustration of last week's loss to Scotland on Conor O'Shea's charges.
Ireland set down an early marker at scrum-time winning a penalty in the second minute. That led to a period of relentless pressure in the Italian 22 where Simon Zebo almost touched down in the corner.
The men in green didn't have to wait long until they did open their account after Keith Earls dotted down in the opposite corner after Ireland were camped on the Italy line. Paddy Jackson converted to make it 7-0.
Ireland's Keith Earls scores their first try. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Italy replied with a penalty through Canna before the onslaught continued. CJ Stander cantered over the line after a brilliant skip pass from Zebo to double Ireland's try count with Jackson again converting.
By this stage, the visitors were running at the Italians from everywhere and Earls dotted down in the corner again after a relentless multi-phase attack from Ireland. Jackson again converted to bring the scores out to 21-3 after 26 minutes.
Ireland's CJ Stander scores their second try. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Italy finally got a foothold in the game and pressurised Ireland's defensive line-out which eventually led to a maul which was brought down just before the visitor's line.
Referee Glen Jackson awarded a penalty try and sent Donnacha Ryan to the bin for the infringement which brought the score to 21-10.
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip with Sergio Parisse and Dries van Schalkwyk of Italy
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Conceding a try appeared to anger the Irish and they mounted an attack after turning over the restart. Heaslip turned down the opportunity to take an easy three points and his decision was vindicated when CJ Stander barrelled over from close range. Jackson again converted to make it 28-10 at the break.
Ireland picked up from where they left off after the interval with Stander scoring his third try in the corner. Jackson again converted to bring the scores out to 35-10.
Ireland's CJ Stander scores their fifth try despite Tommaso Benvenuti and Angelo Esposito of Italy
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Craig Gilroy replaced Robbie Henshaw in the 47th minute which led to a reshuffle in the back-line. Garry Ringose moved into first-centre with Earls moving into the midfield with Gilroy taking his place on the wing.
A rare error from Rob Kearney allowed the home side gain some possession in the Irish half but immense defence from the visitors kept the Italians at bay.
Schmidt emptied the bench with the result guaranteed and it appeared to take the life out of the match as the new players adjusted to the tempo.
It took until the 67th minute for Ireland to click again. The visitors relentlessly attacked the home side and, after multiple offloads, Craig Gilroy cut back against the grain and ran in under the posts. The imperious Jackson converted again to make it Ireland 42-10 Italy.
Ireland's Craig Gilroy on the way to scoring their sixth try. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Ringrose then got in on the act cutting through the Italian defence with ease and Jackson again converted.
Ireland's Garry Ringrose scores a try. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland
Late on, Stander turned over the ball just outside his own 22 and booted it clear only for a favourable bounce to hop up into the on-rushing Gilroy's hands who ran in under the posts.
The scoring didn't stop there as Gilroy scored again for his hat-trick after the clock had gone red. Jackson added the extras to leave the final score 63-10.
Ireland welcome France to Dublin in two weeks time in a game which could define their season.